For Patients & Their Caregivers

The UC Memory Disorders Center is committed to providing our patients and their caregivers, family and friends with compassionate service and understanding to help make their experience as comfortable as possible.

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An evaluation at the Memory Disorders Center begins with a careful assessment by one of our neurologists.

Assessment of neuropsychological function is performed with specialized tests of memory, language skills, arithmetic and other cognitive abilities to better characterize the range and severity of cognitive dysfunction. This also permits annual tracking of cognitive health. Laboratory investigations (blood tests) are frequently performed to evaluate for medical, autoimmune or other conditions that may impair memory or thinking. The Center provides access to the most up-to-date and technically sophisticated 3 Tesla brain MRI for structural neuroimaging, and other testing, such as FDG-PET scanning, is available and will be ordered if appropriate.

Establishing an accurate diagnosis for people with mild cognitive impairment, early-stage Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive complaints enables us to provide effective treatment. For example, patients who think that they have Alzheimer’s disease may actually have cognitive problems caused by depression or another medically treatable condition.

Accurate diagnosis also is fundamental to providing a clear picture of future prognosis and how the family should best proceed with planning for their loved one.

In patients with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias, several medications have been shown to slow progression of the symptoms; this may enable people to carry out activities of daily life and to enjoy quality family interactions for a longer time. Treatments exist for depression, behavioral problems and sleep disruption, which are often some of the most troubling aspects of Alzheimer’s disease.

Understanding barriers to communication can improve the quality of interaction with family members and other caregivers. Patients with language disturbance may also benefit from speech therapy to improve their ability to communicate effectively.

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